Tips on How to Expand Your Skills and Stay Relevant in the Workforce

Changes in the workplace are accelerating at an unprecedented pace.  The average shelflife of technical skill is shrinking ( research by the World Economic Forum estimates that the half-life of professional skill is just five years).   At WEF’s annual meeting in Davos this month, the research presented suggests that: 

By 2022 alone, 75 million jobs will probably be displaced across 20 major economies, while 133 million new ones will spring up in industries that are only just gaining traction. At the same time, it’s estimated that nearly two-thirds of children who started school in 2016 will go on to have jobs that don’t yet exist. So, how can we adequately prepare tomorrow’s workforce at the same time as retraining the hundreds of millions of people whose work is evolving?

To an organization the task of reskilling millions of workers may feel overwhelming but the challenge is equally daunting to an individual.  In addition, consider this, of LinkedIn’s 2020 list of The Skills Companies Need Most in 2020, the top three are #1 creativity, #2 persuasion and #3 collaboration, #4 adaptability and #5 emotional intelligence.

Here are a few small steps you can take this year to set reasonable and achievable goals towards keeping pace with these future of work trends.

  • Work on a single skill.  Focus on improving or learning a key skill this year that will help you grow as a professional and a person. Sign-up for an online course, read books on a given subject, subscribe to industry publications or blogs by thought leaders, utilize corporate L&D, training or tuition reimbursement resources. 
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Push yourself to make bigger things happen and expand your realm of experience. If the opportunity arises at work, offer to lead and tackle projects that you haven’t before, nominate yourself to participate on cross-functional teams, or hone your presentation skills at every chance. Review internal job listings for possible lateral career moves that will expand your knowledge and experience.
  • Be a mentor. Enhance your people skills in areas such as leadership, interpersonal skills, and communication, increase your professional network and .hear fresh perspectives from future members of your profession.
  • Practice mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness at work is an important way to center yourself, achieve better focus, and bring more balance to your life. The benefits in the workplace include building resiliency, improved intuition, greater empathy and acceptance of colleagues. To learn more about how to practice mindfulness and its benefits, read here.
  • Take your hobby or passion to the next level.  If you have a hobby or passion work on expanding your knowledge or technical proficiency.  For example, are you a devoted amateur photographer with an interest conservation? Consider writing and submitting articles for publication or self-publish on an online platform like Medium. Take a class or an online tutorial to improve your post-processing techniques.

Topics: Future of Work, Careers, learning and development

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